Solutions to Small-Batch Distribution

By Published On: November 1, 2019

Craft Beverage Expo brings together the entire craft community, from wine to beer to spirits, to share common challenges and strategies from our industry. With the help of experts from various verticals, independent producers walk away feeling confident in their distribution and marketing strategies, knowing what it takes to win in their home market and beyond.

We sat down with a few of the speakers lined up to present at Craft Beverage Distribution Conference 2019 to get their insights on the industry and their conference session topics.

If you have not yet registered for CBE19, get your conference pass here and join us December 3 – 5 in Louisville, KY.

If you are not a member of the Craft Wine Association, use the discount code SPKVIP and get 50% off the full conference rate.

If you are a member, contact us at for an even deeper discount.

Craft Beverage Distribution Conference Speakers

Julie Verratti – Founder, Chief Brand Officer, Denizens Brewing Co.

Michael Minton – Owner, Dauntless Distributing

David Jackson – COO, SVP Trade Relations, NABCA

What is the topic of your session at the conference?

JV: Alternative Distribution Methods. I will be focused on Self Distribution.

MM: Setting the Stage: Distribution Landscape

DJ: Control Jurisdictions: Untapped Opportunity? How is this topic affecting you and the industry?

JV: The Craft Beer space is getting more and more competitive. Knowing how to self distribute your own products without having to rely on a traditional distribution partner is becoming a necessary alternative for many companies – especially new breweries who are still building their own brands.

MM: Dauntless’ existence and execution is wholly tied to this topic. We came into existence with a core vision of standing out in the aforementioned landscape by way of our commitment to suppliers, general transparency, and impassioned dedication to customer service (both for our third-tier partners and their consumers). Our industry is noisier than ever; producers are tasked with the expansive challenge of garnering and maintaining the loyalty of consumers in an increasingly competitive, hyper-accelerated domestic market. An unhealthy relationship between producer and distributor can cripple (or even destroy) a brand. Concurrently, long-established franchise laws continue to vex and handcuff producers around the country. Making the right decision in distribution, whether regionally, nationally, or internationally, has never been more important than it is in the current moment. Opening the conference with this panel points to the significance of the topic, and I look forward to the discourse we will share on December 3.

DJ: Providing details on US Control Jurisdictions and the market potential for wine and spirit brands.

Can you provide a teaser of key points of this topic that you will cover as a presenter?

JV: I will address the following questions during my panel:

  • What systems should I have in place to be successful at self-distribution?

  • What regulations should I be paying attention to before starting self-distribution

  • What are some affordable technologies that I should consider using for self-distribution?

MM: I expect for our panel to flesh out the situational nuances that exist within the points made above from our “real world,” day-to-day experiences. I see this topic as the underlying theme of the conference, so we will do our best to leave no stone unturned.

DJ: 23% of total spirit sales in the US with 20 years of consistent growth!

What do you hope to achieve by sharing this information with attendees in terms of benefits for them and the overall industry?

JV: I hope that I can translate the lessons I’ve learned over the last five and a half years of running self-distribution in two different jurisdictions. I wish I had known what I know now before we got started self-distributing. We would have been a lot more successful out of the gate. The distribution tier is a blackhole when it comes to finding out how it works without already having the experience of actually working for a distributor. I think self-distributing breweries can help grow craft in conjunction with traditional distribution and that will help the whole sector win.

MM: I’m not much for cliche, but it fits: knowledge is power. It is my hope that the panel will demystify elements of the supplier-wholesaler structure and, as a result, empower all participants in all tiers. There has been a great deal of ingenuity and innovation within distribution over the last decade. Our panel will do its damnedest to shine a bright light on the good, the bad, and the ugly so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

DJ: Understanding of this large segment of the US spirit business.

What are you personally looking forward to at this year’s conference/expo and why?

JV: I am looking forward to meeting other producers, distributors, and retailers, and learning how they are creatively growing the craft alcohol beverage industry.

MM: I’m excited to engage with attendees, to absorb the anecdotes and insights so that I can apply them in a positive, productive fashion to Dauntless’ model. Regardless of one’s tenure, there are new things to learn on a daily basis in the industry. I look forward to furthering my education through conversation!

DJ: Craft beverages continue to grow with high consumer acceptance. It’s always good to see new entrants providing retailers and on-premise accounts with opportunities to be different from their competitors.

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